Left concedes Siliguri corp to TMC-Cong combine

 
The latter won an absolute majority in the polls, results of which were declared on Tuesday. In the 47-seat corporation, the Opposition combine bagged 29 as against 17 by the Left Front  while one went to an Independent. The Congress took 15 while the Trinamool came a close second with 14 seats as deputy mayor  Dilip Roy had to bite the dust. In the outgoing Corporation, the Opposition comprising the Trinamool Congress, Congress and the BJP, held only 11 seats.

In the last Lok Sabha polls, the CPM could manage to thwart the Opposition advance; but the loss of this prestigious Corporation considered gateway to North Bengal where the Left held absolute sway for the last 30 years, is indeed significant as the CPM mobilised none other than Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in the campaign.

This apart, CPM’s urban development minister Ashok Bhattacharya, who is  from Siliguri, left no stone unturned to retain power. In sharp contrast, no heavyweight leader of the Opposition came for campaigning.

The front had been ruling the SMC for 13 years since the municipality was upgraded to a corporation in 1996. The elections held on Sunday recorded more than 85 per cent turnout.

Conceding defeat, Bhattacharya said the “slogan of development” was lost in the “din and clamour” for a “change of guard” by the Opposition. Trinamool supremo and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee who lauded the people of Siliguri for the decisive mandate, claimed it was a victory of people over “money and muscle power.” 

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